Daily Archives: April 10, 2007

Amazing Grace

Like so many others, Honorary Auntie M and I went to see Amazing Grace last night.
It was fantastic – highly recommended.
So many thoughts, so many prayers, so many moments when I found myself laughing out loud, so many moments when I wished I’d remembered to take a handkerchief.
A thoroughly good film – and good to see one which portrays Christianity in such an honest and realistic light.
My favourite moment – when William Wilberforce is talking to his butler about his faith, and in particular his butler’s response. (Are you impressed – I was really careful not to give too much away!)

Perhaps the funniest moment, however, was when M and I got up to leave. She had been working at the church all day, serving lunches and refreshments to people who had gone to visit the Easter garden (including four take-aways for my lot), and I had been working non-stop all day with my brother and the boys trying to make my garden more like a garden and less like a timber-yard. Sciatica set in while we were sitting, and the two of us hobbled out of the cinema like ancient grannies, lurching from side to side, wincing at every twinge, and giggling like schoolgirls at the image. The giggling intensified when I suddenly remembered that I had left my brother to babysit but had “accidentally” locked the door to the lounge and he’d be stranded in the kitchen for the night!

Too nice to slave over a hot stove

This was my decision as we arrived home from church on Sunday. So lunch was scrapped and we set off on an alternative Easter hunt… though not for chocolate eggs. Amazon World is a local attraction which we love, being based on a Rainforest conservation theme and with loads of free-flying birds and well-cared-for animals amongst the most amazing of plants in a greenhouse complex which you can walk around as though in the middle of the Rainforest – all the time learning about the horrors of deforestation. They decided against doing an Easter Egg hunt because of the environmental impact of forests being cut down to grow cocoa beans for chocolate and the additional implications of so much foil and packaging being discarded onto landfill sites. So their hunt was slightly different.

The children were told there’d been a disaster at Amazon World and that loads of recycleable “rubbish” had been littered around. There was a competition for children to count how many items they could find as they went around. Smudgelet got really into it – It was impossible to get through to him that the challenge did not include random bits of litter dropped by visitors (amazing though it was to think that anyone would drop litter there) and we also suddenly realised that some of the things that he’d counted were actually part of the electrics or feeders etc. So in the end we just had to guess. But it was quite a meaningful lesson regardless.

The statistics we read there were mind-blowing. The population of the world, or rather of the “developed” part of the world, is mad in the degree of mindless damage done to the environment every day.

I thought I’d share with you some of my favourite photos from the day. The little ground-level birds with the tuft are a type of partridge – can’t remember the name, alas – who follow each other round everywhere. There were loads of pairs there (they mate for life) and they were absolutely lovely, and so tame they almost walked over your feet at times, but as soon as the camera went anywhere near pointing in their direction they were off!

toucan play at that gameSnoozingMy favourites - one of

This cushion's a bit hardGotcha!best I could do

First birdPeepo

And this one’s just for Jack the Lass 😀


Crack of dawn

Yes, we were there. At the crack of dawn. On the recreation ground.

It was a real experience – a silvery half moon greeted us as we arrived, to have its place taken by the most beautiful sunrise. As we stood in silence, soaking in the sound of the dawn chorus greeting the day, from behind the line of trees and over the sea suddenly appeared a ball of gold, rising before our very eyes right on cue. It was truly awe-inspiring. As the worship leader said, creation proclaiming that He is risen indeed. Halleluia!

Though small in number, we were in good voice and the sunrise service was just perfect. The quality of the music deteriorated, mind, as the accordionist’s fingers succumbed to the numbing cold of the frost and gradually all feeling disappeared, and with it all capacity to work out where on earth the chord buttons were! But we persevered and managed some rousing music. Wonder if the neighbours appreciated it :o)

Thence back to church for a scrummy breakfast and to witness yet again the amazing transformation of the Easter Garden.

The stone is rolled away

The dawn chorus

From breakfast we raced home to get changed for church and to check whether the Easter bunny had been. For those of you who enquired, the tent is a “Smudgie-Towers” invention. The first year I had Tiddles he liked to play at making a tent from a clothes horse and a blanket and just happened to have made one in his room Easter weekend. It occured to me that it’d be rather fun to hide his Easter basket in there on Sunday morning and just wait to see when he found it. It proved such fun that the following year he asked if he could make the Easter bunny a tent again. And so it has continued for eight years’ worth of Easters. Sometimes a plain tent (as this year), sometimes far more ornate, depending on the time available… but the contents always quite exciting. And amazingly the Easter Bunny also left something rather nice for me!

The easter tent

The Easter tree is a tradition I brought home after spending a year in Austria, and which made an impact upon Tiddles when we visited my friends out there at Easter time too. We use willow branches from the tree in our garden and decorate them with ornamental eggs and bunnies and the like.

Easter tree

Sadly Tiddles decided to grace the day with a massive tantrum just as we were setting out for church. The less said about that the better. But it meant that we forgot to take the Easter hats we’d made. Mine isn’t in the picture as it’s not as exciting as the Smudgelets’ ones.

Easter hats He is risen indeed - halleluia

The tantrum was definitely the lowlight of my Easter this year (his too, methinks) but the highlight came from my other son. Normally quite shy, he has suddenly discovered a love of singing and has become more confident of his lovely little voice. This has generally come about through his singing with the choir – but he won’t even sing in the back of the car for me because he’s too lacking in confidence. But after the concert last week he asked if he could have singing lessons. And in anticipation of this, Honorary Auntie M who was taking the service at our church asked him if he would be willing to sing a solo. He stood in front of a packed church, held his head high and sang – so beautifully – “Good Joseph had a garden”. And me? I cried.